On August 8th Friends of TSL hosted the first of Lambeth’s “co-design” meetings where the local community is invited to participate in planning the future of their library.
Lambeth is currently absorbing the responses at the meeting and plans to publish its conclusions and proposals for action in the next few weeks. When it does, we will report back to you and post our comments on www.tatesouthlambethfriends.org.
But in the meantime here are some of our findings.
The session did not, as Friends had hoped, take forward the priorities identified in previous feedback consultations and move into a detailed examination, with Council personnel, of the options for next year’s budget , and specifically how the scheduled cut of one eighth in spending should be achieved.
Instead this was essentially another consultation exercise on what people want from the library service. Friends membership has already been consulted on this on several occasions – and many are now getting tired.
This result was inevitable, since a large number of those attending (the meeting numbered 50) had not previously engaged in consultation on the library service and many were not familiar with the library offer at TSL, or the specifics of the funding situation.
We do however welcome the broader community participation this evening brought. It is one of the core purposes of Friends of TSL to increase local familiarity with the library and so enhance both its use and its responsiveness to local needs and demands. And bringing in members of the local community not previously reached also brings in new ideas on how the library should operate and what it should offer. We certainly do not claim to represent the whole neighbourhood – just one section which articulates and acts on its support for the local library.
So the evening achieved something that we want – if not what we were looking for on this occasion.